"Dungeon Rap depicts a more inward facing and bleak anxiety, a self-aware and powerful admission of a sick mind viewed through a murky, warped lens"
Ever wondered what Memphis Horrorcore might sound like if it were wrenched out of the Deep South, dragged through the gutter to a Scandinavian doom metal gig and spat out in a modern day industrial estate in Eastern Europe? Me neither, but I’m reckoning the result wouldn’t be far off ‘Dungeon Rap: The Introduction’, the new mixtape from Ukrainian Alex Yassun aka DJ Sacred (AKA DJ Armock/DJ Bishop/Pillbox/who knows what else).
Dungeon Rap – Yassun’s own term judging from the tape’s title – appears to be some sort of twisted, lo-fi, dark-as-Polanski’s-porn-collection sludge hop. One glance at the tracklist should give you a give you a good inkling of what you’re in for (and send any God Botherers into apoplectic outrage): ‘Misery’, ‘Blood Feast’, ‘Murder’, ‘Chronic Pain’, ‘Shallow Grave’ etc. – keep this one hidden from Mama!
The album drapes a thick dark ambient and dungeon synth aesthetic over a hip-hop framework. Synth lines are mournful and menacing in equal measure, beats hazy, blunted and blown out. Yassun makes liberal use of aliases (7 songs by DJ Armock, 5 by DJ Bishop,1 by DJ Bishop & DJ Sacred, 3 by Pillbox) with each adding a unique voice to the collective psyche while enhancing the project’s general sense of schizoid disorientation.
Pillbox seems to be the least maniacally aggressive of the lot. His instrumentals feel angsty, introspective, even ethereal. Stand-out ‘Days of Harvest’ sounds like a beautifully depressive lullaby, the kind Tommy Wright III might draw for come bedtime. DJ Bishop offers up a set of slo-mo, funereal trunk rattlers, while DJ Armock’s deranged contributions conjure up images of a crack-smoking Phantom of the Opera laying down synth ballads in his labyrinth.
The vocal input comes from nameless, lean-drenched MC samples and some of Sacred’s rather unsavoury-sounding contemporaries, such as MC Holocaust and Devilish Trio. Verses are either snarled at you like a riled Rotty or sound like they’re being drawled from somewhere deep in the netherworld. The anonymous rat-a-tat flow deployed on both ‘The End’ and ‘Insomnia’ is a definite highlight, as are Devilish Trio’s sinister, swaggering threats on ‘Murder’.
This isn’t Manchester label Natural Science’s first foray into freaky deaky beat making; Agnarkea (who we featured) came hard n heavy with the equally brilliant ‘Black Helicopters‘ LP last year. But whereas his anger and fear was politically-motivated, Dungeon Rap depicts a more inward facing and bleak anxiety, a self-aware and powerful admission of a sick mind viewed through a murky, warped lens. If this is just The Introduction, y’all best start stockpiling Prozac for when the main event drops.
‘Dungeon Rap – The Introduction’ is out now in cassette and digital formats, order a copy from Bandcamp.
1. DJ Armok – Intro
2. DJ Armok – Don’t Let This Be Your Death Wish
3. DJ Armok – Murder ft. Devilish Trio
4. DJ Armok – Blood Feast
5. DJ Armok – Misery ft. MC Holocaust
6. DJ Armok – Victim
7. DJ Armok – The End
8. Pillbox – Insomnia
9. Pillbox – Chronic Pain
10. Pillbox – Days of Harvest
11. DJ Bishop – The Bishop
12. DJ Bishop – Ride Heavy
13. DJ Bishop – Underworld
14. DJ Bishop – Shallow Grave ft. Rita Keen
15. DJ Bishop & DJ Sacred – Dungeon Playaz
16. DJ Bishop – Take Care of Ya Bidnez